Microsoft Announces Online Book Search Program

by Staff

Microsoft recently announced the creation of MSN Book Search, an online service for digitally searching the text of previously published “books, academic materials, periodicals, and other print resources." The company will introduce the program next year in competition with Google Print, a feature of the widely used online search engine Google, which seeks to scan millions of books with participating libraries and publishers.

In the past several weeks, the Author’s Guild and the Association of American Publishers have filed separate lawsuits against Google over its plans to copy and distribute copyrighted works without the permission of the copyright owners.

Microsoft will focus initially on making 150,000 public domain works available through a partnership with the recently formed Open Content Alliance (OCA), a group of libraries and companies such as Yahoo, Hewlett-Packard, Adobe, and the Internet Archive, that hopes to “build a permanent archive of multilingual digitized text and multimedia content.”

While Microsoft has not yet arrived at agreements with publishers for selling their copyrighted material, it has announced that it will ask for permission using an “opt-in” model, as opposed to Google’s “opt-out” plan, where publishers who do not want their books scanned must notify Google by November 1, 2005.